14ymedio, Carlos Malamud, Madrid, 23 January 2017 — Guillermo Moreno, former Secretary of Domestic Trade under both presidents Kirchner in Argentina, and responsible for the manipulation of Argentinean official statistics during the so-called “won decade,” said after the inaugural address of Donald Trump that the new president “is a Peronist.” Without the slightest blush and with no nuance Moreno justified his favorable opinion of the new occupant of the White House for his defense of national industry and the slogan “America first.” Hence his optimism: “When we return to power, we will not have the world against us.”
When analyzing Friday’s speech on Capitol Hill, Ines Capdevilla, in a more sophisticated way, linked Trump’s Adamism – starting from scratch with a clean slate – with the best traditions of certain Latin American presidents predestined to re-found their countries. A circular phenomenon that appears to have no end.
Nothing and no one should stand between him and the embrace of his people, the great subject of the national transformation that he himself will lead
In his inaugural speech Trump turned his back on the past of the United States. It was not a lack of memory or historical ignorance, but a pure reconfiguration of reality in his own image and likeness.
Almost nothing from the past is useful, none of his predecessors did anything salvageable and the explicit mention of some author to reinforce his ideas could sound like elitism, a caste. Nothing and no one should stand between him and the embrace of his people, the great subject of the national transformation that he himself will lead.
The only thing missing for Trump to situate himself as the height of the best exemplar of the hemisphere was to promise a new constitution starting with a constitutional assembly. In this way his imprint on the national history would be indelible, but it seems that Trump knows something about his limits and this is precisely one of them.
Much has been said about his populist and nationalist tone. Nevertheless, I would like to emphasize the Peronist component mentioned by Moreno. Beyond the outdated protectionism he wants to impose on the United States he has some other signs like the direct relation between the leader and the masses, bypassing the troublesome intermediaries of the establishment and the political parties.
In his speech Trump said, “What really matters is not which party controls our government but whether our government is controlled by the people.” Even the intermediation of his own party, the Republican, could distort his messianic message. For that Twitter comes as a perfect fit, to keep open privileged communication channels that even now he can access without controls of any kind.
Many Latin American politicians are enriched in the exercise of their functions. It does not seem to be the case with Trump, who comes to the presidency already rich. However, the lack of clear boundaries between the management of public affairs and his private businesses both inside and outside the United States could generate significant conflicts of interest and a new point of convergence across the continent. Not only that, nepotism, expressed in the increasingly starring role of some of his direct family members in the management of the government, is another matter to keep in mind.
The values that Vladimir Putin claims to defend are the same as those claimed by European xenophobic parties
European xenophobic populisms have expressed their desire to incorporate the new president and the values expressed by him to his field of play. We have already seen Nigel Farage make the pilgrimage to Trump Tower and also the zealous demonstrations of Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders at the meeting that the far-right continent just held in Koblenz. While promising a “patriotic spring,” Wilders said, “Yesterday, a new America, today, Koblenz, and tomorrow, a new Europe.”
The rejection of liberal democracy and the free market, complemented by a visceral hatred for everything that Barack Obama might represent, starting with the defense of liberties and human rights, is not only a response to the strategic interest of turning Russia into a great power. The values that Vladimir Putin claims to defend are the same as those claimed by European xenophobic parties, although the political support and economic aid that some receive from Moscow facilitates the convergence. But these are not exclusive phenomena of old Europe, since in Latin America it is possible to observe similar opinions, although in a self-referential way and these tend to be located at the other end of the political spectrum.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro undertook an undisguised defense of the new leader: “I do not join the world’s campaigns of hatred against Donald Trump… I ask myself, about what, because we know a lot about dirty wars.” These statements are the result of comparing the new president to the “nefarious” Obama, Venezuela’s biggest enemy, the most interventionist and interfering in Latin America and the direct promoter of three coups: Honduras, Paraguay and Brazil. Maduro argued that under no circumstances could Trump be any worse than Obama.
The Cuban government tried to stay true to its style and Josefina Vidal said that under no circumstances would they accept pressure from Trump and that “aggression does not work with Cuba”
Evo Morales, through Twitter, also showed relative optimism about Trump, his isolationist policy and the possibility of reestablishing normal bilateral relations, with the exchange of ambassadors. In a second message he went further: “Hopefully, with the new president of the United States, there will be an end to the interventions and military bases in the world to guarantee peace with social justice.”
For its part, the Cuban government tried to stay true to its style and Josefina Vidal, the Foreign Ministry Director for the United States said that under no circumstances would they accept pressure from Trump and that “aggression does not work with Cuba.” Despite the forcefulness of these statements, Raul Castro has maintained a significant silence on the subject. Some malicious person might think that he has done it so as not to counter Putin, but that is pure speculation.
Peronism, like the recent Latin American populisms, has tended to polarize its societies. Nationalism was used to mobilize the faithful in defense of the project, to the point that whoever was not with Peron or with Chavez was a traitor to the country. It seems that Trump has decided to follow the same path, a path which, as the recent experience of Latin America has shown, only leads to discouragement, frustration and the impoverishment of the society as a whole.